Yes, there will be election fraud, and on a grand scale
By John Chuckman | Aletho News | October 23, 2016
It is a virtual certainty that the American establishment will resort to election fraud to help Hillary Clinton. They simply do not know what to do about Donald Trump. America’s election system was not designed to handle a phenomenon like him, a non-politician, a man with some genuinely fresh anti-establishment views, who quickly rides a wave of popularity to do a hostile take-over, as it were, of a major old-line party.
America’s election system is designed to give the theater of democracy with virtually none of the substance, but even in the face of that reality, election fraud in America still has a long history. Even though we are usually talking about two establishment candidates representing two establishment parties, the competitive instincts of the two rival gangs, each eagerly seeking power and privileges and appointed offices for themselves and their adherents, have often resulted in vote fraud. How much greater is the impulse now in that direction to defend against a candidate who actually wants to change something?
Despite an unprecedented spectacle of the press acting as a national public disinformation system united in one goal, to discredit Trump, including even polls deliberately engineered with sampling errors to give a false view of what is happening, and a massive effort to build Hillary up into something she is not, a decent human being, the momentum for Trump continues.
Even if you don’t have reliable numbers, you can just feel it from the very desperation of the establishment. The President spends much of his time flying around making insipid speeches for his party, the newspapers leap to publish every unconfirmed negative report about Trump or such absolute trivia as this or that movie star or pop star saying what an awful man Trump is. And you have to ask where all these voices were during decades of business deals in the great cities of America and other places which saw successful projects springing up all over with fanfare and publicity.
No, it is only now that the establishment actually feels the hot breath of popular revolt against much of what it has done over the last two decades – its uniquely poisonous policy brew of constant war and completely ignoring most Americans – that we get this explosion of rumors, unproved accusations, and Joseph McCarthy-style innuendo. Before that, Trump was a highly productive member of society welcome at public events of every kind. After all, wealth and celebrity are always welcome in America. It is only change that is not.
Critics are right about a lot of unpleasant things in America, and their voices are simply not heard in its tight little press oligopoly. Is America’s establishment right about Syria? About Libya? About Yemen? About Israel? About NATO? About Russia? China? Being right in America today can be quite lonely.
America invented marketing. It is one of its few truly original contributions to culture. And the arts of marketing are intensely at work in politics there, to the extent there is often almost no substance despite all the carefully-packaged words. The immediate period after an American election resembles the experience of a person who has purchased a new product which quickly proves to work nothing like the advertising promises said it would.
American elections closely resemble a marketing battle between two oligopolistic corporations, as between Coke and Pepsi or McDonald’s and Burger King. There are only two parties and that situation is controlled through countless institutional and regulatory gimmicks put into place by the two parties themselves.
America’s campaign financing system is a deliberate and effective method to discourage the birth or growth of any new parties. It is what economists call a barrier to entry into a market, the kind of thing which keeps non-political oligopolistic markets from becoming more competitive. The little ones are allowed to just struggle along on the margins for appearances and owing to the disproportionately high cost of eliminating them too.
Most of the noise and intensity of American elections is just hollow, but it is the kind of stuff to which Americans are exposed in their economic life, day-in or day-out, so for ordinary people without the time to be well-informed, nothing could sound more normal.
That is what is so different about Trump. Despite his flaws and distasteful tendency to be a bigmouth, on some really important matters, matters of life and death, he is speaking truth and speaking it plainly. There is a kind of revolutionary quality in parts of his message. Of course, this in part reflects the fact that he has never before been a politician, only a successful, hard-nosed actor in the economic sphere.
That is something new in American elections, and the establishment is rather shaken by it. Therefore, the American press has created and sustained an unparalleled campaign of highly biased and even vicious reporting and commentary.
People abroad do not realize that about 90% of what Americans hear comes from just six big companies, none of whom, you may be sure, is interested in change and especially anything even slightly revolutionary. National broadcasting and national press have been so consolidated through years of massive mergers that there is no real alternative voice reaching most Americans.
And those huge news corporations – intimate members of the establishment, always supporting the government of the day in its imperial wars and projects – have made a concerted effort to diminish and demean Trump. Equally, they have universally praised and supported Clinton, despite her dark record of unethical personal behavior and violent public acts, despite having been responsible for the deaths of thousands of women and their families.
Never mind Trump’s private off-color remarks, here is a woman married for decades to a genuine sexual predator, a man who was having sex with a young intern right in the Oval Office. And she wants to bring him back into affairs in Washington, having promised to give him responsibility for economy?
Why did she tolerate decades of his disgraceful and even criminal behavior? Because it gave her serious leverage over him in office, whether as Governor of Arkansas or President of the United States. We have a hundred voices telling us of her violent temper and demands and the central role she would assume even though elected to no office.
She has always been about one thing only, and that is to enjoy power over others which she has exercised with brutal intensity, all while maintaining a bug-eyed, laughing face in public. She is without question a genuine sociopath.
Even when we see fascinating revelations about her inside political maneuvering and dishonesty from leaks on the Internet, the national press manages largely to ignore them or to diminish them. They do not catch fire. The techniques of public relations and damage control – outgrowths of marketing principles and psychological manipulation techniques – are employed to suffocate any fires.
We do see signs that the Internet is starting to have some real impact with the general population, and to the extent that is true, we also see the establishment working towards suppressing alternate and independent voices on the Internet by a variety of means.
America uses an awkward expression, “controlling the narrative,” to describe what the establishment is quietly undertaking, always trying not to assume the open appearance of old Soviet-style suppression of information or the promotion of heavy-handed disinformation while in fact assuming the substance of their purpose.
In the longer term, I am not convinced they can succeed. The Internet is an almost uncontrollable force, that is unless you actually suppress and control aspects of the Internet itself, something recent remarks by Obama – a man who is a strict disciple of secrecy and inner-sanctum privilege – suggest in vague and politically-correct language, there may well be efforts underway towards that goal.
This fact only adds to the importance of this election. If Trump loses, there can be no doubt, the secretive, manipulative, and ruthless Hillary Clinton will commission whatever efforts are required for information suppression. After all, a person ruthlessly pursuing war and secretive manipulation of world affairs can never be a friend to openness and truth, which are literally enemies of such goals.
The entire business of terror and fighting terror offers a great deal of latitude this way, suppression in the name of fighting terror, the great irony, of course, for America being that it does not consistently fight terror, it frequently employs it as a tool of statecraft. We’ve seen that in my lifetime in everything from the long covert battle against Castro and the hideous, pointless war in Vietnam to the employment of jihadists in Afghanistan, Libya, or Syria.
For some genuine history of American vote fraud, readers should see my lengthy comment on Obama’s recent speech, in which he told Trump to “stop whining.”
Rarely ever does hypocrisy align so succinctly as it does within the pages of American policy and media coverage. US policy think tank, the Brookings Institution, recently provided an extreme example of this in a paper titled, “A convenient terrorism threat,” penned by Daniel Byman.
The paper starts by claiming:
Not all countries that suffer from terrorism are innocent victims doing their best to fight back. Many governments, including several important U.S. allies, simultaneously fight and encourage the terrorist groups on their soil. President George W. Bush famously asked governments world-wide after 9/11 whether they were with us or with the terrorists; these rulers answer, “Yes.”
Some governments—including at times Russia, Egypt, Turkey, and Pakistan among others—hope to have it both ways. They use the presence of terrorists to win sympathy abroad and discredit peaceful foes at home, even while fighting back vigorously enough to look plausible but not forcefully enough to solve the problem. This two-faced approach holds considerable appeal for some governments, but it hugely complicates U.S. counterterrorism efforts—and the U.S. shouldn’t just live with it.
Byman then begins labelling various nations; Somalia as a “basket-case,” Iran as a “straightforward state sponsors of terrorism” and attempts to frame Russia’s struggle against terrorism in Chechnya as somehow disingenuous or politically motivated.
Byman also attempts to claim Syrian President Bashar Al Assad intentionally released terrorists from prison to help escalate violence around the country and justify a violent crackdown, this despite reports from Western journalists as early as 2007 revealing US intentions to use these very terrorists to overthrow the governments of Syria and Iran specifically, the New Yorker would reveal.
The US is as Much a Sponsor of Terrorism in Reality as Byman Claims Others are in Fiction
But worse than Byman’s intentional mischaracterisations and lies of omission regarding US allies like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel’s overt, global-spanning sponsorship of terrorism, is the fact that not only is the US itself engaged in sponsoring terrorism as it poses as fighting against it globally, the Brookings Institution and Byman have specifically and publicly called for the funding, training and arming of designated foreign terrorist groups in pursuit of self-serving geopolitical objectives.
Indeed, Daniel Byman is one of several signatories of the 2009 Brookings Institution report, “Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy toward Iran.”
The report not only reveals the blueprints of using supposedly “peaceful” and “democratic” protests as cover for violent, US sponsored subversion (as was precisely done in Syria beginning in 2011), it specifically lists a US State Department-designated foreign terrorist organisation as a potential US proxy in violently rising up against, and eventually overthrowing the government in Tehran.
The report would explicitly state (our emphasis):
Perhaps the most prominent (and certainly the most controversial) opposition group that has attracted attention as a potential U.S. proxy is the NCRI (National Council of Resistance of Iran), the political movement established by the MEK (Mujahedin-e Khalq). Critics believe the group to be undemocratic and unpopular, and indeed anti-American.
In contrast, the group’s champions contend that the movement’s long-standing opposition to the Iranian regime and record of successful attacks on and intelligence-gathering operations against the regime make it worthy of U.S. support. They also argue that the group is no longer anti-American and question the merit of earlier accusations. Raymond Tanter, one of the group’s supporters in the United States, contends that the MEK and the NCRI are allies for regime change in Tehran and also act as a useful proxy for gathering intelligence. The MEK’s greatest intelligence coup was the provision of intelligence in 2002 that led to the discovery of a secret site in Iran for enriching uranium.
The report then admits MEK’s status as a designated foreign terrorist organisation and that it has targeted and killed both American officers and civilians in the past (our emphasis):
Despite its defenders’ claims, the MEK remains on the U.S. government list of foreign terrorist organizations. In the 1970s, the group killed three U.S. officers and three civilian contractors in Iran. During the 1979-1980 hostage crisis, the group praised the decision to take America hostages and Elaine Sciolino reported that while group leaders publicly condemned the 9/11 attacks, within the group celebrations were widespread.
The Brookings Institution also admits in its report that undoubtedly MEK continues to carry out undeniable terrorist activity against political and civilian targets within Iran, and notes that if MEK is to be successfully used as a US proxy against Iran, it would need to be delisted as a foreign terrorist organisation (our emphasis):
Undeniably, the group has conducted terrorist attacks—often excused by the MEK’s advocates because they are directed against the Iranian government. For example, in 1981, the group bombed the headquarters of the Islamic Republic Party, which was then the clerical leadership’s main political organization, killing an estimated 70 senior officials. More recently, the group has claimed credit for over a dozen mortar attacks, assassinations, and other assaults on Iranian civilian and military targets between 1998 and 2001. At the very least, to work more closely with the group (at least in an overt manner), Washington would need to remove it from the list of foreign terrorist organizations.
And eventually, that is precisely what was done. MEK would be delisted by the US State Department in 2012, announced in a US State Department statement titled, “Delisting of the Mujahedin-e Khalq,” which noted:
With today’s actions, the Department does not overlook or forget the MEK’s past acts of terrorism, including its involvement in the killing of U.S. citizens in Iran in the 1970s and an attack on U.S. soil in 1992.
The Department also has serious concerns about the MEK as an organization, particularly with regard to allegations of abuse committed against its own members. The Secretary’s decision today took into account the MEK’s public renunciation of violence, the absence of confirmed acts of terrorism by the MEK for more than a decade, and their cooperation in the peaceful closure of Camp Ashraf, their historic paramilitary base.
MEK’s inability to conduct violence in the decade preceding the US State Department’s decision was not because of an ideological commitment to nonviolence, but a matter of strategic limitations placed on the terrorist organisation by Iraqi and Iranian security forces who were determined to liquidate it and who forcibly disarmed the group.
And even if the 2012 US State Department decision was based on an alleged decade of nonviolence, the policymakers at the Brookings Institution who signed their names to “Which Path to Persia?” including Daniel Byman, certainly did not apply the same criteria in suggesting its use as an armed proxy.
In all likelihood, had Iraq and Iran not successfully cornered and disarmed the group, it would be fighting America’s proxy war against Tehran on both sides of the Iran-Iraq border. MEK fighters would be carrying out US-backed armed violence against Iran and Iraq side-by-side other US-backed terrorist groups operating across the region as part of America’s current proxy war against Syria, Russia and Iran.
Daniel Byman of the Brookings Institution’s latest paper even at face value is disingenuous, full of intentional mischaracterisations meant to direct attention away from the US and its closest allies’ own sponsorship of terrorism amid a very much feigned “War on Terror.” Understanding that Byman quite literally signed his name to a policy paper promoting the arming and backing of a US State Department designated foreign terrorist organisation makes his recent paper all the more outrageous.
What is also as troubling as it is ironic, is that Byman not only signed his name to calls for arming a listed terrorist organisation, he was also a staff member of the 9/11 Commission, according to his Georgetown University biography. A man involved in sorting out a terrorist attack who is also advocating closer cooperation with listed terrorist organisations is truly disturbing.
The political and ethical bankruptcy of American foreign policy can be traced back to its policy establishment, populated by unprincipled hypocrites like Byman and co-signatories of Brookings’ “Which Path to Persia?” The US certainly cannot convince other nations to abandon an alleged “two-faced” policy of promoting and fighting terrorism simultaneously when it stands as a global leader in this very practise.
An Associated Press story parroted by hundreds of mainstream media outlets today is symbolic of all that is wrong in world news today. Sarah El Deeb paints a heroic portrait of a jihadist stronghold with, calling the embattled city the “Jewel” of Syrian rebellion. With personal touches and misleading nuance, the AP writer condemns Russia and Assad’s Syrian army, while at the same time creating 270,000 holdouts at a modern Alamo. The piece is ludicrous in its clear propaganda speak.
Russia and Syria have been bombing the streets of eastern Aleppo into rubble, as Al Nusra and other extremists congealed against Assad’s legitimate government are holed up with tens of thousands of hostages at gun and knife-point. Ordinary residents held hostage, not even allowed to leave as humanitarian corridors open up, are lumped in with the “head choppers” and snipers, and the suicide bombers Washington and its allies have sponsored.
The writer makes use of an infant born in Aleppo, the child of Ibrahim al-Haj, in order to add credibility to utter contrivance. Mother’s milk, starvation, and an uncertain future from the AP are provocative indeed. Then, there it is again, the “jewel” emblem:
“Families like al-Haj’s across Aleppo’s opposition-held eastern districts are wrestling with how to get by day to day. They’re also weighed down with the fear that all their dreams for the crown jewel of the opposition’s territory are on the verge of collapse.”
In the midst of the most horrific regime change in the last 30 years, Associated Press pounds out a fantasy tale of a “shining city” at peace with the world before the current siege began. El Deeb spins a handsome tale of Aleppo, independent from horrid Assad, and trading with Turkey and the world on its own accord! Reading the fantasy my mind wanders to the uneducated reader in America, and whole people’s wondering why the great hope America has not rode in guns blazing already. Then I snap-to and wonder at how many people Associated Press has gotten killed these last 5 years?
The AP cocktail is a mix of liquid democracy, Operation Inherent Resolve, and soap opera detergent sales turned to TOW Missile request. The relentless Russian air assault, brutal Syrian soldiers feared for their massacring ways, and little Laith the infant make for a powerful propaganda punch. At least, that is, if one knows nothing about what has happened in Syria. The author ends the piece with a domestic note of husband-wife squabbling straight out of NBC afternoons studios. Bickering over there being no bread, unfortunate family featured in this are leveraged like crowbars in order to pry tears and anger from American readers.
There’s no mention in the article about hospitals turned into terrorist triage centers and sniper nests. Sarah El Deeb, whose work also appears in The Times of Israel and Military Times, never goes so far as to tell readers about how Laith and his family cannot leave, even with a ceasefire, for fear of being gunned down by these “rebels”. No, these little children and their parents are Jihadists too, at least in her eyes. The whole of east Aleppo is united as one, like Texans holding out against the evil Mexican President General Antonio López de Santa Anna. The former ARD German Radio producer is not the only biased reporter on the Aleppo beat though. From the BBC to the Boston Herald everybody has the same story. Unfortunately the story is not accurate, and because it is not many more people are going to die.
Russia’s Ministry of Defense was blamed not long ago for bombing an aid convoy. Like most such stories, it went away after some scrutiny. Even though the US broke a previous ceasefire and even attacked Assad’s forces, AP fails to carry that side. When the humanitarian corridors opened up this time, the Russian Ministry of Defense was ready, live streaming the checkpoints so there could be no false flag or provocation before the world. Next we heard reports of killings in east Aleppo, and no civilians taking their bombarded children from the militarized zone. Still, the mighty members of the Associated Press corps were silent. The News York Times, the US State Department, and even France’s Francois Hollande scream and scream; “Those barbarian Russians! War crimes, war crimes!”
But the real crime is committed with the mighty pen, at least its digital equivalent. The New York Times picks up an AP report and tells of the mysterious evacuation that isn’t. It’s as if everyone left there is waiting to be tucked under Obama’s or Hillary Clinton’s wing. Maybe they are willing to sacrifice their children to the Jihad, but somehow I doubt it. The Associated Press is culpable, and I hope each and every one of them takes my admonition personally. This is the end of truth in media, the carnage of the pen.
The missile attack on a US ship off the coast of Yemen was a major news event, but the subsequent follow up story, that it may never have happened, was either ignored by mainstream media or intentionally covered up. The whole thing has the same odor as the Gulf of Tonkin incident that never occurred.
Does history repeat itself? Sure does seem like it. That is if you compare America’s entry into the Vietnam civil war, with America’s latest entry into the war in Yemen.
Don’t be mistaken. We have been at war with Yemen for a year now. America sided with the most oppressive government in the world, Saudi Arabia, in attacking and pounding Yemeni schools, funeral parlors, and hospitals, for well over a year. This war could not have happened without a wink and a nod from the US, and the arming of the Saudis’ with US weapons. In addition to providing the Saudi’s with weapons, we also provide mid-air refueling and have delivered 40 million pounds of jet fuel over the past 18 months, thus enabling the devastating bombings of civilian facilities. The US used a cease fire in Yemen to re-arm the Saudi’s, who were running out of bombs and weapons, we provided the targeting information, ground maintenance of aircraft, and, of course, the wink and nod to go ahead, which unleashed this humanitarian disaster.
So here we have Saudi Arabia, one of the wealthiest but most oppressive governments’ in the world, a supporter of terrorists in Syria and around the world, attacking one of the poorest nations on earth. According to a leaked Hillary Clinton e-mail, she is fully aware that Saudi Arabia sponsors terrorists in Syria, but still the go ahead wink to the Saudis. Now that we and the Saudi’s have destroyed everything in Yemen with bombs, we are helping the Saudi’s maintain a blockade, preventing food and medical supplies from reaching the Yemeni people, which by some estimates, have already cost the lives of 10,000 children under the age of 5.
All that, however, was not enough for the US. Now we have actively entered the shooting war, based on yet another possible ruse by our government. The US Navy claimed they were attacked by Houthi missiles from somewhere in Yemen, and promptly launched Tomahawk missiles at a cost of $1.5 million per missile, in revenge. Some suggest we took out radar installations with our Tomahawk missiles. But hold the phone! Two days later the US military very quietly announced they are not sure if there was a missile attack at all. Yup, you got it. Did you hear that story on mainstream media? Of course not. It appears that no one saw the missiles from Yemen, nothing was hit by missiles, and there was no corroboration from other ships in the area. The Houthis’ denied they had anything to do with the alleged attack. The US very quietly admitted, perhaps it was all about “ghost radar images”, and there never were any missiles.
This story was completely ignored by mainstream media. Supposedly, whether the attack occurred is being investigated by the military, and there will be a report coming, but don’t wait up for the late-night news to hear the results of the pending report. It might never come, or if it does, would you believe a report where the military is investigating itself?
So what does this have to do with history repeating itself? Some may remember the Vietnam War, where the US entered a civil war on the other side of the globe, based on an alleged “attack” by North Vietnam on a US navy ship. There was never any sighting of the attacker, there was never any damage by the attack, and we know now, years later, that there was never any such attack. Sound familiar? It all was due to false readings and ghost images on radar screens. The alleged attack took place in the Gulf of Tonkin.
Quickly the US Congress rushed to get involved in Vietnam’s civil war by seeking revenge for an attack that never happened. It passed the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, which authorized the US president to get revenge. America’s entry into the Vietnam civil war lasted 10 years, and cost the lives of approximately 55,000 US soldiers, and about 3 million Southeast Asians. That’s correct. 3 million lives! We attacked this past week with no discussion, debate, or consent by Congress. Like the cowards they are, Congress never said a word, but stuck their heads deep in the sand. The President, now has the power to do such things, and the Constitution in that regard is irrelevant.
How many years will the war with Yemen last? How many will be killed? Why are we fighting Yemen? Why has Saudi Arabia attacked Yemen? Will there be blowback from Yemen in the future, or do you feel the innocent Yemeni’s will simply lie down and die quietly? And the last quiz question of the day: Name the countries the US is currently bombing.
Selective Assassinations of Chavistas by paramilitaries, renegade police and criminal gangs continue
The assassination of followers of the late President Chavez continues to increase at a steady pace. From 2013 – when President Maduro was democratically elected – to the present, many local political leaders, public servants, journalists, bodyguards of left wing politicians, military personnel and operatives of the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN) have been unfortunate enough to fall into the opposition’s murderous claws.
The ultra-right wing opposition that currently has control of the National Assembly continues with its aim of resurrecting the Fourth Republic in Venezuela. With opposition figures such as the governor of Miranda state, Capriles Radonski, telling his supporters “to take their anger to the streets” and Voluntad Popular’s Leopoldo Lopez whose plan called “The Exit” sparked violent street protests by paid thugs from February to June 2014 costing 43 lives, we can see that unconstitutional political means to gain power are at play here.
Added to these actions by the ultra right wing are assassinations of body guards of revolutionary leaders that are simulated as a robbery or violent street crime, then the right wing media plays its part by putting it all down to “insecurity” caused by an inept government.
The links established between fascist leaders in Venezuela such as Leopoldo Lopez and ex-Metropolitan Mayor Antonio Ledezma with ex-Colombian President and enemy of Bolivarianism, Alvaro Uribe, since 2009 have resulted in political, economic and media support for the paramilitary gangs that have been infiltrating Venezuela since about 2005. These gangs expanded into the country from the western Colombo-Venezuelan border and reached the center of the country, including Caracas, in a few short years.
Political and legal support was lent by right wing parties such as Voluntas Popular and Alianza Bravo Pueblo. Economic support came from drug trafficking, contraband and a small sector of business; and finally support by electronic media that are financed from abroad such as La Patilla, NTN24 (both financed from Colombia) and Sumarium owned by the Vecchio-Lopez families. (Carlos Vecchio is now exiled in the US and Leopoldo Lopez is serving 14 years in jail). There were also other minor support groups from other political parties of the right such as UNT, Accion Democratica and Primero Justicia.
With the paramilitaries in place, there were various objectives: the political demobilization and demoralization of militant Chavistas in the popular areas (barrios); and take out of circulation valuable revolutionary cadres either by making them disappear or eliminating them physically. The right wing media would then step in and report on these events with the purpose of destroying the memory and reputation of the murdered comrades.
The aim of practicing this kind of politics is to create indignation, fear and anger in the population that lives in the shadow of such insecurity. For this reason each brutal homicide is dealt with immediately and sensationally by the opposition media. The idea is to have some sensational aspect of any given case covered on a daily basis to maintain the fear factor.
Let us not forget that since 2013 the whole population has been subject to the effects of a fourth generation war – a combination of selective assassinations as described above and an economic war making life increasingly difficult. Foods were hoarded, hidden or smuggled to Colombia creating shortages of basic goods and the resulting huge lines as people stood to buy food.
This, the fear factor plus frustration at not being able to buy basic subsidized goods plus induced galloping inflation, was all blamed on an inept President and his ministerial team, day-in day-out, by the local and international media who all combined to encourage voters to either abstain or switch to supporting the opposition. The latter had promised to “make the lines vanish” if they won control of the National Assembly on December 6 last year. They did win but the lines got worse … and according to the media this is still the fault of the government even though 86% of food distribution is in the hands of the private sector.
Of course, the “make the lines vanish” electoral promise was conveniently never mentioned again by the private media.
To achieve the goal of sensationalizing homicides and sowing fear and discord in the population, the opposition media has a team of “info-mercenaries” who in many cases have contacts with corrupt ranks of the security forces and therefore have access to the gory details before any investigation has even started. Such “inside” or “advance” information is illegal under Venezuelan law. There are also journalists that act in concert with the armed gangs especially in the case of “hits” against security personnel, as there is a higher economic incentive if the details are published in the media.
After the recent intervention of the police headquarters in the opposition-run municipality of Chacao in Caracas, it was discovered that this police force had been behind several high profile killings such as that of retired General Felix Velasquez and revolutionary journalist Ricardo Duran.
Obviously the Mayor of Chacao who is the Commander-in-Chief of this police force did not know anything about the activities in his own police headquarters. The opposition is never involved in these murders even though the police forces they control are never above suspicion. At present 4 policemen are awaiting trial for the assassination of General Velasquez and 14 more for the killing of Duran.
On repeated occasions President Maduro has stated that these assassinations “form part of a non-conventional war that is being waged against the country – and not just now but for many years. Criminal violence emerges when the right wing does not achieve its objectives”.
There follows a list of the revolutionaries and public servants murdered in contract killings due to the politics of violence of the ultra right wing:
In addition to these politically motivated and contract killings by paramilitaries, police and paid thugs in the streets, there are at least 15 professional bodyguards of high-level Chavistas who have been assassinated from 2013–2016.
All the cases mentioned have proven to be contract killings and have been resolved or are under investigation.
It is worth highlighting the fact that no international human rights organization or any NGO affiliated to the US or Spain – countries that are supposedly democratic and believe in the freedom of expression – have taken any interest or made declarations condemning the persecution and assassination of Chavistas. All they have done is attack the government of President Maduro insinuating that it is he who is violating human rights!
Thus, we have a twisted situation where cases of murdered Chavistas are glossed over and no mention of the violation of their human rights is ever made. And on the other hand, the darling of the international right wing, Leopoldo Lopez, is allegedly having his human rights violated because his iPod was removed from his jail cell.
This is the late Eduardo Galeano’s “Upside Down World!”
© Copyright 2016 by AxisofLogic.com
On Wednesday, the Guardian released an article titled “U.S. and U.K. reject Russian offer of ‘pause’ in airstrikes on Syria.” Aside from the fact it’s riddled with the outlet’s usual pro-U.S.-U.K. and anti-Russian propaganda, the article sank to the lowest of possible lows in an attempt to present the Russian military as an aggressor in Aleppo in which there are allegedly no terrorist groups — only moderate fighting forces.
How? By citing the leader of a terrorist group.
Al-Farouk Abu Bakr, an Aleppo commander in the “powerful Islamist group” Ahrar al-Sham said, speaking from Aleppo:
“‘When we took up arms at the start of the revolution to defend our abandoned people we promised God that we would not lay them down until the downfall of this criminal regime,’ he said, referring to President Bashar al-Assad’s government.”
“There are no terrorists in Aleppo.” [emphasis added]
There are many issues with the Guardian’s publication of this statement. First, in the Guardian’s latest apparent attempt to see how gullible its readers are, the outlet neglects to explain the ideological leanings of Ahrar al-Sham (which is not surprising when you analyze it). Ahrar al-Sham is heavily affiliated with Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s official Syrian branch) and has conducted numerous operations together with the al-Qaeda affiliate. The group also used to work with ISIS until January 2014 and only parted ways after ISIS killed one of their members — not because the groups shared any noticeable differing ideologies.
The group has at least 20,000 members, and its stated goal is to establish a Sunni Islamic state within Syria (what would happen to all of the sects of Syrian society?). In 2013, Human Rights Watch reported they massacred 190 civilians and seized over 200 civilians simply because the villagers were from an Alawite-dominated part of Latakia.
If they are not a terrorist group, then what are they?
Further, one cannot ignore that these media outlets are so quick to interview or quote fanatical jihadists yet won’t even lend the same respect to Russian, Iranian, or Syrian military officials. The aforementioned are, after all, fighting against the same fanatical jihadists the Western powers have claimed to be fighting for decades.
The most intellectually damaging aspect of this report is that the same article prefaces the above terrorist leader’s statement with the following paragraph, effectively canceling out its own narrative:
“The Russians appear to be trying to work round both Britain and France by attempting to win the support of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar for a ceasefire that will put pressure on al-Nusra front fighters to leave Aleppo. Estimates of the number of al-Nusra fighters in the city vary between 400 and 900. In Moscow, Shoigu explained Russia is ‘asking the countries wielding influence with the [Syrian] rebels … to persuade their leaders to end fighting and leave the city.’
“Russia has improved its relations with Turkey, and neither Turkey or Saudi Arabia say they want al-Nusra to remain in Aleppo. America has also condemned the al-Nusra presence, saying despite a name change the group remains ideologically affiliated to al-Qaida.” [emphasis added]
So, there are no terrorist groups in Aleppo? But even the Americans have condemned their ‘non-existence?’ Why condemn something that isn’t there?
The Guardian has been the recipient of the British National Newspaper of the Year four times (including as recently as 2013), the Bevins Prize for investigative journalism, and the Best Newspaper category three years running between 2005-2007, among others.
But Bob Dylan just won the Nobel Prize for literature following a career of writing no literature, so maybe this really is great journalism and we are the morons for not being able to understand it.
It has become crystal clear.
For the record, here it is.
She has big ambitions, which she does not spell out for fear of frightening part of the electorate, but which are perfectly understood by her closest aides and biggest donors.
She wants to achieve regime change in Russia.
She enjoys the support of most of the State Department and much of the Pentagon, and Congress is ready to go.
The method: a repeat of the 1979 Brezinski ploy, which consisted of luring Moscow into Afghanistan, in order to get the Russians bogged down in their “Vietnam”. As the Russians are a much more peace-loving people, largely because of what they suffered in two World Wars, the Russian involvement in Afghanistan was very unpopular and can be seen as a cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union.
This led to the temporary reign of the drunken Boris Yeltsin who – as recounted in Strobe Talbott’s memoirs – was putty in the hands of Bill Clinton. Hillary would like to renew that sort of relationship. Putin is an obstacle.
The new version of this old strategy is to use Russia’s totally legal and justifiable efforts to save Syria from destruction in order to cause enough Russian casualties to incite anti-Putin reaction in Russia leading to his overthrow. (Note State Department spokesman John Kirby’s recent warning that Russia will soon be “sending troops home in body bags”.)
That is the prime reason why the United States is doing everything to keep the Syrian war dragging on and on. The joint Syrian-Russian offensive to recapture the rebel-held Eastern sections of Aleppo might lead to an early end of the war. U.S. reaction: a huge propaganda campaign condemning this normal military operation as “criminal”, while driving ISIS forces out of Mosul with attacks from the East, so that they will move westward into Syria, to fight against the Assad government.
Ukraine is another theater for weakening Putin.
Hillary Clinton’s ambition – made explicit by her own and her close aides’ statements about Libya in emails at the time – is to gain her place in history as victorious strategist of “regime change”, using open and covert methods (“smart power”), thus bringing recalcitrant regions under control of the “exceptional, good” nation, the United States.
This ambition is backed by possession of nuclear weapons.
I am by no means saying that this plan will succeed. But it is very clearly the plan.
The electoral circus is a distraction from such crucially serious matters.
Diana Johnstone is the author of Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO, and Western Delusions. Her new book is Queen of Chaos: the Misadventures of Hillary Clinton. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Russophobic rants by some European Union leaders and their willful distortion of events in Syria is a reflection of why the 28-member bloc is careering toward disaster. We are witnessing a crisis of appallingly inept leadership.
German, British and French leaders were among the most hawkish voices at the EU leaders’ summit in Brussels this week, denouncing what they claimed were Russian “war crimes” in Syria and calling for additional economic sanctions on both Moscow and Damascus.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Russian-backed Syrian air strikes were “inhumane and cruel,” while Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May took the “most shrill prize” with her condemnation of Moscow’s “sickening atrocities.”
French President Francois Hollande echoed their calls for the EU to slap more sanctions on Russia – in addition to those the bloc has implemented over the Ukraine conflict.
This came only days after Belgian F-16 fighter jets reportedly killed six civilians in the Aleppo countryside, adding to a catalog of illegal aggression committed in Syria by French, British and American warplanes bombing the country without any legal mandate.
In the end, good sense among certain member states prevailed, and the EU summit concluded without imposing additional punitive measures. As the Financial Times reported: “Italy’s Renzi forces a retreat from new sanctions on Russia… Germany, France and UK rein in demand for fresh EU sanctions over Aleppo bombardment.”
Italy, Spain, Austria, Hungary, Greece, Malta and Cyprus were some of the EU members wary of escalating economic and political problems already incurred from loss of trade with Russia over the Ukraine debacle.
Britain’s premier May gave a particularly asinine speech in Brussels. She called for a “robust and united European stance in the face of Russian aggression.” This from the leader of a government currently embroiled in bitter rows over its divorce from the EU.
So, the British leader wants to bequeath even more tension and economic hardship between the people of Europe and Russia, just before she packs up Britain’s membership.
In the Russophobic rousing, European Council President Donald Tusk also excelled. Despite the EU summit rejecting the adoption of more sanctions against Russia over Syria, Tusk was later threatening that such measures remained an option. Tusk had regaled the summit with a list of alleged Russian “misdemeanors” including “air-space violations, disinformation campaigns, cyber-attacks, interference in the EU’s political processes and beyond. Hybrid tools in the Balkans, to developments in the MH17 investigation.”
Then he declared: “Given these examples, it is clear that Russia’s strategy is to weaken the EU.”
Please note that Tusk is supposed to be a leading light for the EU as it negotiates a raft of existential problems, from intractable international trade deals, migration and border disputes, anti-EU political parties, and ongoing economic stagnation for 500 million citizens.
But if Tusk and other EU leaders like Merkel and Hollande can come out with such inane views on Russia, what chance has the bloc got in dealing effectively with other challenging issues? No wonder, EU citizens are losing respect and faith in political leaders when they are seen to be so utterly incompetent and detached from reality.
Yet to make matters even worse, Tusk and his Russophobic ilk turn around and blame the imploding EU crisis on alleged Russian plots to “weaken and divide.”
Just ahead of the EU leaders’ summit in Brussels, Merkel and Hollande met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Berlin for a conference on the Ukraine crisis. The Kiev regime’s President Petro Poroshenko was also in attendance.
The Berlin meeting did not result in any progress toward resolving the Ukraine dispute. While the German and French leaders wanted to penalize Russia over alleged violations in Syria, they seemed oblivious to hundreds of attacks by Kiev’s armed forces on civilian centers in breakaway eastern Ukraine. The assassination of a military commander in the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic last week by suspected Kiev agents has heightened fears of a return to all-out war.
Where are Merkel and Hollande’s condemnations and calls for sanctions on the Kiev authorities whom they patronize with billions of dollars in financial aid and NATO military support?
Also, Merkel, Hollande and Britain’s May have little to say about recorded “cruel, inhumane, sickening” massacres in Yemen committed by the Saudi coalition bombing that country. Their silence no doubt is owing to the fact that their governments sell billions of dollars worth of weapons to the Saudi regime even as it slaughters women and children in Yemen.
And, indeed, let’s talk about Syria and the besieged northern city of Aleppo.
The crimes that European leaders allege against Russia and its Syrian ally are based on unverified claims issued by dubious networks evidently under the control of the anti-government militants. The militants besieging east Aleppo are dominated by head-chopping terrorist groups like the internationally proscribed Jabhat Al-Nusra.
When Russia unilaterally implemented a temporary ceasefire this week in Aleppo, an innovative live-streaming broadcast from the appointed humanitarian corridors proved once again the real nature of the violence.
Civilians trapped in the militant-held areas were shown to be held as “human shields” by the insurgents. While buses and other vehicles were waiting to ferry civilians out of the conflict zone, video footage recorded militants shelling and sniping at the humanitarian aid effort.
Those violations corroborated what citizens in east Aleppo have been saying for a long time – that they are being held against their will by the gunmen. Besieged people are even calling on the Syrian and Russian forces to continue in their operations to break the hostage situation and liberate that part of the city.
All across Syria, hundreds of villages and towns have been liberated by the Syrian army and its Russian allies since Putin ordered his air force to intervene in the stricken country at the end of last year.
One of the recent successes was the town of Qudsaya near the capital Damascus. Last week, thousands of residents rallied in the main square cheering President Bashar Assad, the Syrian army and Russia for their “liberation” after the foreign-backed mercenaries were routed from the town.
The foreign backers of the mercenary army that has plunged Syria into horror since March 2011 – with perhaps half a million dead – include the supposedly leading EU members Britain and France. Hollande is on record for admitting that France supplied weapons to insurgents in Syria as far back as 2012, when the siege of Aleppo began, and in breach of a European arms embargo.
What is going on in Syria is a military victory over a foreign-sponsored terrorist war on that country. Russia’s role in the liberation of Syria is principled and commendable.
Those who should be facing prosecution for war crimes include pious, pompous government leaders, past and present, in London and Paris.
If such prominent EU governments can be so wrong and distorting about something so glaringly obvious as Syria and Russia’s support, then no wonder the EU is in free-fall over so many other pressing matters. With criminally incompetent politicians in power, the EU is a bus with its driver slumped at the wheel.
The U.S. Democratic Party showed its true colors in a new ad that the Venezuelan government blasted as “racist arrogance” that puts the late Hugo Chavez in the same category as fascist dictators Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler in an effort to cast Republican presidential rival Donald Trump as a dictator-in-waiting.
The Spanish-language ad, aimed at U.S. Latino voters ahead of the Nov. 8 election, features comments by Trump that Clinton should be jailed and his vow to sue media that spread “purposely negative, horrible and false” articles.
“Remind you of anyone?” the video asks before flashing images of the popular socialist Venezuelan leader Chavez.
The clips are selectively edited to portray Chavez as authoritarian but deliberately fail to mention that Chavez and his Bolivarian Revolution won support at the ballot box in over a dozen elections which former Democratic President Jimmy Carter called “the best in the world.”
“It is an expression of racist arrogance and irrationality from a party that does not serve its constituents,” Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said in a statement late Wednesday.
“Chavez is a leader who transcended our time for his democratic nature, his fight for the poor and universal feeling for humanity,” she added.
The video also compares Trump and Chavez, who died in 2013, with European dictators Mussolini and Hitler, and concludes by urging voters to “protect” U.S. democracy. The ad was paid for by the Democratic National Committee in support of Clinton, and was not made by her campaign.
The clip nonetheless serves to show that the U.S. Democratic Party, despite efforts to portray their party as more reasonable than their Republican counterparts, are not beneath manipulation to help their candidate get elected.
The U.S. Department of State, under the leadership of then-Secretary of State Clinton, publicly praised the results of the 2012 Venezuelan presidential elections that saw Hugo Chavez re-elected to a third term.
In statements to the press, then-State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said they “congratulated the Venezuelan people for the high turnout and for the generally peaceful manner in which the election was carried out.”
But while Clinton publicly welcomed improved relations with Venezuela as secretary of state, she privately ridiculed the country and continued to support destabilization efforts.
Venezuela, whose economy is heavily dependent on oil exports and has suffered due to the dramatic drop in the price of oil, has been the subject a vicious media campaign which has portrayed the country as being on the brink of collapse. The ad is an effort to piggyback off that negative press to win support from the Latino community.
However, the effort may backfire as Venezuela’s socialist government enjoys support throughout Latino communities in the United States and even reached out directly to low-income people in the United States through discounted home heating oil.
In the Democratic Party primary race, both Clinton and her opponent Bernie Sanders also tried to tie Chavez into the race, with the latter calling the Venezuelan leader a “dead communist dictator.”
The Chicago Reader has put together a massive, must-read investigation into the Chicago Police Department’s secret budget. The Chicago PD has — for years now — used the spoils of its asset forfeiture program to obtain surveillance equipment like Stingrays. This discretionary spending is done off the city’s books, allowing the CPD to avoid anything that might prevent it from acquiring surveillance tech — like meddling city legislators… or the public itself.
Since 2009, the year CPD began keeping electronic records of its forfeiture accounts, the department has brought in nearly $72 million in cash and assets through civil forfeiture, keeping nearly $47 million for itself and sending on almost $18 million to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office and almost $7.2 million to the Illinois State Police, according to our analysis of CPD records.
The Chicago Police Department doesn’t disclose its forfeiture income or expenditures to the public, and doesn’t account for it in its official budget. Instead, CPD’s Bureau of Organized Crime, the division tasked with drug- and gang-related investigations, oversees the forfeiture fund in what amounts to a secret budget—an off-the-books stream of income used to supplement the bureau’s public budget.
The Reader found that CPD uses civil forfeiture funds to finance many of the day-to-day operations of its narcotics unit and to secretly purchase controversial surveillance equipment without public scrutiny or City Council oversight.
It sounds like a lot of money — $72 million in civil forfeiture funds — and it is. But it’s not like this money comes from a few large busts that have seriously affected the city’s drug trade. That may be the rationale for the PD’s convictionless seizing of property and cash (just like “terrorism” is often cited when acquiring surveillance tech ultimately destined for plain vanilla law enforcement use). But in reality, the forfeiture’s rarely do anything more than financially cripple a large number of individuals who have little to anything to do with drug trafficking. The Chicago Reader reports that the median seizure in Illinois is only $530 — hardly an amount one associates with criminal empires. In fact, the normal cash seizure probably sounds more like the following than a breathtaking dismantling of a local drug-running crew.
Ellie Mae Swansey, a 72-year-old retiree living on a fixed income, had her 2001 PT Cruiser seized two years ago when Chicago police arrested her son for drug manufacturing. The costs of simply beginning the long, circuitous, extremely-frustrating battle to reclaim her vehicle were prohibitive.
In order to have a chance at getting their property returned, claimants must put down a bond toward their asset when first submitting the official paperwork. This means that Swansey had to pay $140 (10 percent of her car’s value) just to start the process. Then, to appear in court, she had to pay an additional $177 fee.
To Swansey, who lives on a $655-per-month social security check, these costs are substantial. Successful claimants will have 90 percent of their bond returned; unsuccessful claimants get nothing back.
The extensive investigation, compiled from dozens of FOIA requests*, notes that 90% of the seized funds spent by the CPD went to expected, above-board expenses: vehicles, cellphones, etc. But the rest of it went other places, obscured by redactions and withheld documents. Payments to cellphone forensics companies like CellBrite were uncovered, as were purchases of a license plate reader installed near the CPD’s infamous Homan Square
detention center black site, and $417,000-worth of cell tower spoofers.
The Chicago PD will continue to roll over retirees like Swansey because the laws governing forfeiture in Illinois have completely corrupted the incentives. It’s not about law enforcement or crime prevention. It’s about autonomy, power, and a steady flow of spendable cash.
When a government agency is allowed to handle the forfeiture proceeds it brings in—as is the case with both CPD and the Cook County state’s attorney’s office—it controls both “the sword and the purse,” like an army that is also its own taxing authority. This is according to Lee McGrath, legislative counsel for the Institute for Justice, which seeks to reform civil asset forfeiture laws across the country.
* More on how the Chicago Reader managed to get its hands on this stash of documents.
Russia insists two Belgium warplanes flying from an Air Force base in Jordan attacked a village in Syria, citing radar data. Belgium denies conducting any airstrikes.
Brussels’ continued denial of the jets movements in the area is Belgian Defense Minister Steven Vandeput “deliberately deceiving people in Belgium and elsewhere in the world, or his subordinates and the Americans are lying to the leadership of Belgium,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman General Igor Konashenkov said.
An airstrike on the village of Hassadjek in Aleppo province reportedly killed six civilians on Tuesday. Russia has now reiterated its accusations against Belgium, saying data from Russian and Syrian radar stations confirm it.
The two Belgian F-16 jets accused of the attack flew from the Muwaffaq Salti Airbase in Jordan, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman General Igor Konashenkov said, adding that they were immediately identified.
“Every aircraft type has a unique identifiable signature,” he said.
The Belgian warplanes delivered their strike at the village at 12:35 GMT, about two hours after the take-off, the general said. The attack left six civilians killed and four others injured. The jets were later refueled by a US KC-135 tanker, continued patrolling around the city of Azaz in northwestern Syria and then flew towards Iraq, Konashenkov added.
Belgium earlier denied Russia’s accusations, saying none of its six warplanes contributing to the US-led coalition had flown over the region. The Foreign Ministry summoned the Russian ambassador to Brussels to voice its protest.